Arizona’s nearly 1.2 million political independents will be able to continue to influence who Republicans nominate for office, at least for the foreseeable future. The executive committee of the Arizona Republican Party on Saturday rejected a proposal to try to close future primaries and limit participation to the 1.1 million who are officially members of the Grand Old Party. Party spokesman Tim Sifert said committee members concluded it made no sense to try to challenge a 1998 voter-approved measure which paved the way for independents to vote. That vote came despite a recommendation from state precinct committeemen to shut out the independents. But Sifert said such a legal move might cost $75,000. And he said only the executive committee can spend party money.
The decision is a setback for some conservative elements of the GOP who believe that allowing independents to vote affects the outcome of races and helps elect more moderate candidates. That 1998 measure allows independents to vote in the primary of any recognized party.
It actually was crafted by the Republican-controlled Legislature at the behest of the party, not because the GOP wanted independents voting but because they feared a more far-reaching alternative: a wide-open primary where any registered voter could cast a primary ballot for any candidate. That would mean a registered Democrat could vote for a Republican contender for governor, a Democrat hoping to be secretary of state and a Libertarian running for Congress.
That initiative didn’t qualify for the ballot after the Secretary of State’s Office concluded there were insufficient valid signatures. That left party officials stuck with the more moderate legislative proposal they had offered as the alternative.
Full Article: Independents still get GOP primary vote.